Sunday, June 5, 2011

No matter how intrusive the Elf and Safety Executive is into people’s lives it simply cannot stop accidents from happening. They happen because they are unforeseen no matter how many rules and regulations there are. Recently eight children have been injured, five playing on an inflatable slide that tipped over and three on a bouncy castle that slipped its moorings. The first five suffered only minor injuries but unfortunately the three playing on the castle were severely injured with broken bones and all are in hospital.

As everyone and his or her mother seem to be writing a book it is amazing how many self-publishing houses have spring up in order, for a price, to give assistance and to publish said book. Believe me for what value they give they can be very expensive and even if your book is published there are no guarantees of sales. A good few years ago I sent a manuscript to one of these firms, this was when there were only a couple of them who offered to publish with my share of the cost being £3000 and that was when three thousand pounds was a great deal of money. Naturally (never having that much in the bank at any one time) I declined their offer. In those days books were published by the run and even mumbers of those published by mainstream houses ended up on the remainder table. With the advent of print on demand it is a whole other ball game and one is not left with hundreds of unwanted books mouldering in the attic as it were.

It’s surprising how many famous writers started out by being self-published. Evidently J.M. Barrie, the author of ‘Peter Pan’ and who once had no fewer than five plays running in London was one who started off that way. I learnt this from a book I forgot to mention in my last Blog – ‘Cock-A-Doodle-Do’ by Charles B. Cochrane, or Cocky as he was known, a fascinating biography from a man who late nineteenth century up to the second world war was an entrepreneur and the producer of plays, spectacular revues and pantomimes; an English version of the American Florenz Ziegfeld. Everybody who was anybody in the theatre at that period worked some time or other for Cochrane. Talk about name dropping! How’s this for half a page worth?

“Perhaps the most popular item of the evening was when a double file of women dressed in the garb of an Edwardian musical comedy chorus, and men dressed in scarlet dress suits, marched down a long joy-plank and gravely performed the banal steps of an old-fashioned musical comedy ensemble. There were Gorge Robey and Diana Wynyard, Noel Coward and Dorothy Dickson, Douglas Fairbanks Junior with Gladys Cooper, Owen Nares with Ivy St Helier, Ivor Novello with Yvonne Arnaud, Ronald Squire with Adrienne Allen, Raymond Massey with Vivien Leigh, John Gielgud with Fay Compton and Clifford Mollison with Adèle Dixon. The audience rocked themselves into a delirium of applause.”

There are a couple of names there I don’t recognise but otherwise what an ensemble of theatre notables, a once in a lifetime.

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